Senior US diplomat arrives in Pak, may discuss Kashmir

Alice Wells, a senior US diplomat, arrived here to hold key bilateral talks with Pakistani leaders. (Photo - U.S Embassy)

Alice Wells, a senior US diplomat, on Tuesday arrived here to hold key bilateral talks with Pakistani leaders on issues like the peace process in Afghanistan amid reports that she might also hold discussions over the current situation in Kashmir.

The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and moved a separate bill to split the state into two union territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Pakistan has, however, condemned and rejected the Indian government's decision and vowed to exercise "all possible options" to counter India's "illegal" and "unilateral" step.

Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs would stay in Pakistan for a few days for the talks, according to the US embassy.

“The US Embassy in Islamabad welcomes Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia! Looking forward to a great few days during her visit,” the embassy tweeted.

Wells met Minister for State and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi and discussed the matters related to Afghan refugees.

The visit of US official to Pakistan coincides with the 8th round of talks between the Taliban and the US in Doha.

The talks aim to chalk out a plan that would cut the US troops' presence in Afghanistan. The US is asking the Taliban to not use Afghanistan for jihadist groups including Al-Qaeda.

Diplomatic sources said that Wells would also hold parleys with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

Though talks are expected to focus on Afghanistan but the situation of Kashmir will also be discussed, they said.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that Pakistan would firmly highlight its stance in meetings with the US delegation and with the International Community at large. 

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